Saturday, May 20, 2006

May 20, 2006 – Iyar 22, 5766





May 20, 2006 – Iyar 22, 5766




Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness -- a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at  To be removed from this mailing list, sent e-mail request to  If you have signed up and are not receiving our e-mails, check your spam filter to make sure that TBE is not being “spammed out.”


We welcome the Women’s League here this Sunday for a full day of programming, as Ilene kirschner Madwed becomes its regional president! 


Mazal tov to her, and to TBE’s own Fred Springer, who became president of the UJF on Thursday.


Also, Mazal tov to Bi-Cultural day school on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, also to be celebrated at its annual dinner dance this Sunday.


Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunities

Ask the Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web   

Required Reading and Action Items (links to key articles on Israel and Jewish life)

 Announcements (goings on in and around TBE)

Joke for the Week



Quote for the Week


 “In a controversy, the instant we feel anger,

we have already ceased striving for truth

and have begun striving for ourselves.”


Abraham Joshua Heschel




Friday Evening 

Candle lighting: 7:50pm on Friday,- Havdalah is at 8:51 pm  on Saturday evening. For candle lighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on  To see the festivals of other faiths as well, go to


K,1 and 2 Shabbat dinner - 5:45 PM


Kabbalat Shabbat: 6:30 PM – Because of the rain and wet ground, services tonight will be held indoors, in the chapel L


Tot Shabbat – No Tot Shabbat May 19!  Due to scheduling conflict.  Tot Shabbat will resume on Friday, May 26.  We hope to see you then.


For those who can’t get enough of Tot Shabbat, Nurit conducts Tot Shabbat Morning at 10:30am every Saturday morning.  All are welcome to attend.


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Randi Braun and Philip Nussbaum who will become B’nai Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.


The sermon topic will be “The Da Vinci Code: Jewish Perspectives.”


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah PortionBehar-Behukotai:  Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34

1: 25:39-43
2: 25:44-46
3: 25:47-54
4: 25:55-26:2
5: 26:3-5
6: 26:6-9
7: 26:10-46
maf: 26:44-46

Haftarah - Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14


See a weekly commentary from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  Read the Masorti commentary at  University of Judaism,  JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.:’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at  Guided meditations for each portion by Judith Abrams at

 For online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to Torah for Kids:  Weekly Lesson of Popular Israeli Rabbi Mordechai Elon - and his parsha sheets:   From Bar Ilan University:




Morning Minyan: Weekdays at 7:30, Sundays at 9:30 AM



We’ve had several people coming lately who are saying kaddish following recent deaths in the family.  We want to make sure we have a minyan each day. Your presence any morning is greatly appreciated!








For more information, go to

If you are interested in participating in our steering committee or would like an info packet, contact me at







Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs

TBE Job Search Strategy Group: JUNE- JULY 2006



Tired of your your job, your company, or maybe even your career? Changing jobs or your  career can be very stressful. Maybe you are dealing with  sudden or involuntary  unemployment, or a recent graduate embracing the Job market for the first time! Whichever situation it might be, the job search is always a challenging process: confusing, unpredictable and demoralizing. Ironically, while changing careers and jobs is a common phenomenon in our society, most people don't understand how rapidly changing technology has impacted the job search process, or the essential 21st century  job search strategies one needs to adopt to succeed in this extremely competitive marketplace. 

Donna Sweidan, a career coach and counselor in Stamford (and TBE member), will make 3 presentations that will both educate an engage you.... dates and times to be determined.


1) How to develop momentum in your job search. Job Searching the Five O'clock Club Way.  

2) How to create a resume that works and gets the attention that it deserves

3) Beat the odds: How to make the Internet Job Search work for you 


Donna has presented and led numerous Job Transition Strategy groups and workshops in her work as a career coach. Before starting her own business, Careerfolk, she was the Founding Director of Career Services at The New School in New York. Her clients have ranged from 17 to 71 years of age and their interests have varied just as much.


If you would like to know more about these workshops, or if there is interest in joining a Job Transition Group, or individual counseling, please contact Donna directly.  She can be reached at 203-613-1049 or 



Sunday, June 4, 2006

The Bennett Cancer Center Walk and Run


The Walk/Run will be on June 4, 2006 in the morning at Shippan.  Each year TBE members walk together to raise money for cancer patients and their families.  In 2005, we had 51 walkers and our team raised over $5,200!!  This year our goal is to raise $6,000. 


We welcome all new and past walkers to come together to form the Sisterhood’s TBE Walk Team.  We always have a great time for a good cause.  You can walk at your own pace and you will have other TBE members to walk with!  The course is either 3 or 5 miles (your choice).


See the special TBE Walk and Run webpage at  You can pre-register there as well as read a message from Beth Silver – she can also be reached at 967-8852,


Looking forward to having YOU on the team!    








We all know that the Ten Commandments tell us to honor our parents…

But what do parents owe their children?


A superb, detailed response can be found at the USCJ website:




How should we behave towards people who irritate us?


An Interesting Parable from “”



Sometimes it’s a problem given some of the unwholesome ways some people act towards us. We may come across despicable people or some whose behavior is totally unacceptable to us, but yet among them there may very possibly be a Tsaddik (a self-realized individual), who can bring about miracles to our lives.  Such a Tsaddik  is a mirror that reflects our own souls. So if our behavior is loathsome then the Tsaddik only mirrors what we truly are. The Tsaddik does not mirror what we appear to be or what others think we are. On the other hand, if we are holy, the Tsaddik mirrors that holiness.


The Hassidic literature is filled with stories and legends about these miracle workers who even while unbeknownst to us play an important role in our well-being. According to tradition, the world is supported by thirty-six righteous people (Lamed Vav Tsaddikim) who themselves are unaware of their holiness and their spiritual gifts.


One such story that has circulated for a long time is the one about The Shavartze Wolf (The Black Wolf), as told to the Belzer Rebbe by the great grandson. I’ve heard several variations of the story, but the one that’s most memorable to me is the one recorded by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in his inimitable musical style. Rabbi Carlebach’s version can be found on his album Nachamu Ami recorded in 1990.


You can find one version of the story by clicking on this link:

It’s worth reading because you never know who among us is one of the true Tsaddikim. It teaches us how we are obliged to behave towards others. Anyone in our midst could be such a Tsaddik as the Shvartse Wolf. Is it possible that someone we know may be such a Tsaddik?


With blessings

Wally Spiegler





Spiritual Journey on the Web



Happy Hour







By Haim Handwerker

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - Memorial Hall in Sanders Theater at Harvard University started to fill up half an hour before Tal Ben-Shahar's lecture was due to begin. The Gothic-style 1,100-seat hall was built about a century ago to commemorate those who fell in the Civil War. When Ben-Shahar teaches there it is packed with students in jeans, though here and there you can see a young mother with a stroller and a few couples in their sixties.

Today's class is about relationships - one of the more fascinating topics at any age. When Ben-Shahar, 35, who is bespectacled, lean and inclined to smile, enters, he does not look like a guru who attracts hundreds of students. On the platform is a high bar stool on which Ben-Shahar usually does not sit, a movable blackboard and a huge screen. As soon as the lecture - which is accompanied by music and video clips from films and television programs - begins, it is apparent that the guy has charisma. It's a pleasure to listen to him. He is intelligent and funny and his remarks are rich with a profusion of details. The students are plainly riveted. When the class ends, they applaud. Afterward, a long line of students forms to exchange a few words with him. He sits at the front of the stage and speaks patiently with everyone.

The students, most of whom are women, gaze at him reverently, while Ben-Shahar's army of teaching assistants huddle off to the side. Also present is a representative of McGraw Hill, the publishing house. In the wake of his new success, Ben-Shahar is negotiating the publication of a revised and updated edition of the small book (112 pages) he published in 2002, "The Question of Happiness: On Finding Meaning, Pleasure and the Ultimate Currency." He is also working on a new book, "Permission to Be Human," which, more than any other phrase, sums up his credo.…
 to read the rest go to




Jerusalem Day is next Friday, May 26th:

Some Jerusalem and Israel Links Online Magazine about Israeli life  Nice lesson, featuring passages by great writers about Israel -- An Appreciation of Yehudah Amichai – By Dr. Ann Lapidus Lerner of JTS Four Yehuda Amicha poems about Jerusalem (view the movie) (before they starting charging extra for their supplements)

Jerusalem Municipality Website

Jerusalem Capital of Israel (1)

Jerusalem Capital of Israel (2)

The status of Jerusalem

Basic Law: Jerusalem

Internet Exhibit: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Compilation of Additional Documents about Jerusalem Articles by Michael Oren, author of “Six Days of War”  Bar Ilan University's Center For Jerusalem Studies: Jerusalem: Life Throughout the Ages in a Holy City,

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Jerusalem Through the Centuries,

Jewish Virtual Library:

The Israeli Knesset: Jerusalem

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: Jerusalem in International Diplomacy, by AmbDore Gold,

Jewish Agency: Sources for Yom

OU-Yom Yerushalayim Guide & talking points,





Required Reading and Action Items




Let’s begin with GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c and other sources


Technology | In Israel, water is the new oil  
Israel has been dealing with the problem of scarce water resources for decades, making it a pioneer in water purification, irrigation and desalination technologies, and other techniques to help it make the desert bloom. As a growing number of countries face similar concern about where its next bucket of water is coming from, they are looking to Israel for innovative solutions. At a recent symposium in Tel Aviv entitled 'The Tides of Change,' representatives from around the world were able to learn from the Israeli experience. More...


Culture | Israel's 'electric' fashion springs to life  
It may seem like an unlikely location for the creation of some of the most original fashion designs coming out of Israel, but Tel Aviv's once-dilapidated Gan Hahashmal ('Electric garden') district has enjoyed a resurgence as the cutting edge fashion capital of the country. The collective of 22 designers are also becoming a hit in New York, thanks to the efforts of Rosebud, the city's boutique devoted to Israeli designers. More...


Israeli dates at forefront of shift in market trends  
05/14/06 - Agricultural experts from Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Abu Dhabi, and Morocco, as well as the US and France converged on Tel Aviv last week to discuss a subject close to their hearts - dates. Whether learning about new cooling and distribution methods, or ways to combat the dreaded Red Palm Weevil pest, the multinational participants stressed cooperation and teamwork. More...


Thanks to Chuck Donin for forwarding this (originally found in the Jerusalem Post):


The Jerusalem Post

Here are some of the reasons I love Israel, in no particular order:

1. The clock radio rouses me with "Shema Yisrael," the Jewish pledge of allegiance, and the weather is nearly always fine.

2. On Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day, the act of remembering halts traffic.

3. The Israel Prize recognizes lifetime achievement for actresses and rabbis, scientists and singers.

4. Mother's Day is celebrated on the yahrzeit of Henrietta Szold, who organized Youth Aliya with Recha but who had no children of her own.

5. All citizens have health care, and the fight is on to get coverage for foreign residents.

6. If my car overheats, even men in designer suits will leap to help me.

7. 25% of Israelis have been close enough to hear a bombing, yet two million of us were out vacationing on Pessah. That's resilience.

8. An evening of singing is still a popular grown-up pastime.

9. Entire families show up for military graduations and bring enough food to feed an army.

10. A circumcision ceremony, brit mila, is important enough to take an hour off from work.

11. Israelis give out their cell phone numbers - the difference between our private and professional lives isn't neatly delineated.

12. Supermarkets deliver.

13. We have more In-Vitro Fertilization per capita than anywhere because we love children.

14. Our beggars are courageous -- they solicit on even the highest-risk street corners.

15. Nearly every family story includes persecution, battle experience, and the upheaval of uprooting - yet Israelis are optimists.

16. Street musicians are good enough to play in chamber orchestras.

17. Despite the stress, creativity flourishes: Israel has more start-up companies than any country outside the US.

18 We're talkative - both the cell phone and voice mail were invented here.

19. We get excited about cyclamens, almond blossoms, and drive far to see budding Lupins (tormosim).

20. On Friday, religious or not, everyone is hurrying towards Shabbat. Check out the bakery lines.

21. Aliyah stories can make the evening news.

22. We celebrate Independence Day by holding a Bible contest.

23. The fastest food is still falafel with its incomparable aroma.

24. Blue and white flags fly from cars and buildings.

25. "Where were your grandparents from?" is a common question. Where else would anyone care about my grandparents.

26. You don't have to be best friends or kin to be invited to a wedding.

27. You don't have to be best friends or kin to attend a funeral.

28. By the number of scientific papers published (more per capita than any other country), you'd think researchers were in ivory towers. Most do hands-on works, and many serve reserve duty.

29. First graders read the Bible in the original Hebrew, and celebrate when they get their personal copies.

30. Humus is ubiquitous.

31. Political discussions never stop, not even in the swimming pool.

32. We follow the level of the Kinneret more faithfully than we do our stock portfolios.

33. Even soldiers carrying heavy M-16's will stop to help a parent with a stroller. Note: M-16's are light. Other wise, this is still true.

34. Streets bear names of prophets and medieval poets.

35. Calendars change on Rosh Hashanah because that's our real New Year.

36. Malls have kosher food-courts.

37. Airplanes have sky marshals, just in case.

38. We have more museums per capita than Italy.

39. We raise cows in the desert with yields like those in Holland.

40. Before Pesach, cleaning products are the lead supermarket items.

41. Even in our prisons, Pesach - the holiday of freedom - is celebrated with a Seder.

42. We have only one Seder.

43. Purim, our dress-up holiday, lasts three days.

44. In Jerusalem, it's hard to tell who's in costume and who isn't.

45. A new garment or a new haircut elicits a salutation, something between "wear it well" and "enjoy its newness."

46. Israel is the first to offer help and send rescue teams to countries coping with disaster.

47. Israel sent medical staff to care for our people after the terror attack in Mombasa and then Israeli fighter jets escorted the plane home.

48. For all the talk about the greening of the planet, we're the only country in the world that started the 21st century with a net gain of trees. (Thank you, Keren Kayemet!)

49. Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies except for Silicon Valley, and also the most yeshivot (Day Schools).

50. After a calamity, police have trouble keeping bystanders who want to help, away.

51. The question "What would you like to drink?" instead of "Would you like a drink?" is a measure of hospitality.

52. Waiting in the supermarket check-out line, strangers share cheesecake recipes.

53. Plain folk know the most obscure languages.

54. Tel Aviv rose from a sand dune and looks glorious.

55. The time of the Saturday evening news is adjusted to suit Shabbat observers.

56. My children and grandchildren can be born in the land of my ancestors.

57. The army serves kosher meals.


now for the rest


(from CLAL online (, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs  and other sources)


A Lesson in Zionism: A.B. Yehoshua Versus Diaspora Jews
"At a recent symposium in the U.S. [sponsored by the American Jewish Committee], author A. B. Yehoshua said that only Israel, and not Judaism, can ensure the survival of the Jewish people. Ha'aretz has invited public figures, community leaders, academics and opinion makers in Israel, the U.S. and Europe to take part in the debate sparked by his statement. In an article in the Ha'aretz Magazine of May 12, Yehoshua elaborates on his initial remarks. Several days later, he issued his 'deepest apologies' to those offended by his comments...." [Since then Israeli and American writers have come forward with their responses. Click on the link above to access Ha'aretz's virtual roundtable.]
By AloniBarstonBarkatBeilin, Foxman, Lerner, Rosner, SaridShelegSharanskyYehoshua, et al (from Ha'aretz)


The Future of the Past: What Will Become of the Jewish People? (webcast)
Click on link above to listen to the archived webcast of the A.J.C. symposium, which occasioned the Ha'aretz roundtable above.
By Ted Koppel, Cynthia Ozick, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Leon Wieseltier, A.B. Yehoshua (from The American Jewish Committee)


Oprah, Elie Wiesel, and My Fellow Christians
"When Oprah speaks, America listens. When Oprah points, America turns and looks. Perhaps most stunningly, Oprah can wave a book in front of us, and some of us may even put down our television remotes and plunge into its pages. Her recent selection of NightElie Wiesel’s classic memoir of the Holocaust, as this month’s book-club feature on the Oprah Winfrey Show promises to capture the attention of a huge audience that still knows little or nothing of that shattering and defining catastrophe of our time. In her broadcasts with Wiesel, scheduled to include a filmed visit to Auschwitz, we will see an African-American woman stepping into the kingdom of night and marching among the shadows. This educational odyssey may open the door to new understandings, not least between Christians and Jews.  Who can object? Why should I, in particular, be vexed with doubts? Wiesel’s book served as my initiation into issues that have shaped my life’s work in the field of Christian-Jewish studies...."
By Christopher M. Leighton (from Commentary)


A Leap of Faith Some Parents Who Shy From Religion Want Their Children to Taste Its Psychological and Spiritual Comforts
"For many years, Varun Gauri rejected religious services, practiced no rituals and spurned all mainstream notions of God. But these days he's busy dipping his daughter's toes in various spiritual waters, from a religious preschool to services at a number of local churches. Gauri says he wants to offer Yasmeen the moral foundation and spiritual guidance he believes religion can provide. Perhaps above all, he wants his daughter to enjoy religion's potential for providing solace. Recently, the 5-year-old expressed a deep-felt desire: "I wish people wouldn't grow old and die," she said. Religion, Gauri hopes, "can help her find some ways of living with that kind of loss." Like Gauri, many nonreligious parents -- whether they've eschewed belief or practice or both -- find themselves seeking the psychological, spiritual and moral blessings they hope a religious background can bestow on their offspring...."
By Stacy Weiner (from The Washington Post)


From the Rabbinic Tzuris department – - Rabbi Fired Over Sex Claims, Defenders Offer Mea Culpa (the Forward)


Also in this week’s Forward, a fascinating article written by my cousin, a professor of history at the University of New Mexico: “Adventures in the American Southwest” - by Noel Pugach -


A Nuclear Test for Diplomacy - Henry A. Kissinger
The world is faced with the nightmarish prospect that nuclear weapons will become a standard part of national armament and wind up in terrorist hands. A failed diplomacy would leave us with a choice between the use of force or a world where restraint has been eroded by the inability or unwillingness of countries that have the most to lose to restrain defiant fanatics.
    An indefinite continuation of the stalemate would amount to a de facto acquiescence by the international community in letting new entrants into the nuclear club. In such a world, all significant industrial countries would consider nuclear weapons an indispensable status symbol. Radical elements throughout the Islamic world and elsewhere would gain strength from the successful defiance of the major nuclear powers. Iran, and eventually other countries of similar orientation, would be able to use nuclear arsenals to protect their revolutionary activities around the world. (Washington Post)


 Why the World Should Take Ahmadinejad Seriously - Amir Taheri

Right from the start of the current crisis over Iran's nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration has pursued three main objectives: to prevent the formation of a unified international front opposed to Tehran; to present the nuclear issue as the most pressing topic in Iran's domestic politics; and to transform the nuclear issue into a duel between the Ahmadinejad administration and the Bush administration in Washington.
    The disappearance of the various brands of Communism as challenger to the Western model has left a vacuum that other radical ideologies including Khomeinism are trying to fill. Ahmadinejad is forcing everyone in Iran and all those


The Popular Resistance Committees: Hamas' New Partners? - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Said Sayyam, the Palestinian interior minister in the Hamas government, has appointed the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, Jamal Abu Samhadana, to be in charge of building the core of a new Palestinian army. Formally, he will be under the overall supervision of the Interior Ministry.
  • The Popular Resistance Committees is a terror organization that has carried out hundreds of attacks against Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip and within Israel, and was apparently responsible for the roadside bomb attack in which three American security guards were killed in Gaza in October 2003.
  • The PRC, which espouses an extreme Islamic worldview, has formed a strategic alliance with Hamas and Hizballah, which help finance its activities and train its operatives. According to Israeli intelligence, the PRC also maintains contact with al-Qaeda, which over the past year has created a presence in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Israel is acting militarily against the PRC as it does toward other Palestinian terror organizations. At the same time, the PRC is not included in Israel's official list of terror organizations. This may stem from the mistaken assumption that the PRC is part of the military wing of Fatah. The U.S. and EU also did not include the PRC in their blacklist of terror organizations.


  Casus Belli - Editorial
The Associated Press story that brought us the news of the death of Daniel Wultz, the 16-year-old Florida high school student mortally wounded in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, reported, "According to the American Embassy, more than 200 American citizens have been killed or wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel since 1992." American courts have found Iran and its leaders liable for $6 billion in damages for more than a dozen Americans killed or wounded in Iranian-sponsored attacks. The State Department's Web site,, lists dozens of Americans killed or wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby listed at least 51 Americans murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in a recent ten-year period.    An attack of this magnitude on American soil would be a casus belli and trigger an American retaliation. As the death toll mounts, there's too much patience, and not enough justice. (New York Sun)




Israel: Myths and Facts



MYTH #219 [Update of 179]

"Palestinians no longer object to the creation of Israel."


One of the primary Palestinian obligations under the road map for peace is to affirm Israel ’s right to exist in peace and security. How then does one interpret Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s description (Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2005) of the decision to create a Jewish state in 1948 as a crime?

While Israelis were still celebrating the 58th anniversary of their independenceAbbas and other Palestinians were mourning the establishment of Israel on what they call Nakba Day. Had the Palestinians and the Arab states accepted the partition resolution in 1947, the State of Palestine would have also been celebrating its birthday, and Palestinians would not be lamenting Al Nakba (“The Catastrophe”).

Palestinians are understandably bitter about their history over these last six decades, but we are often told that what they object to today is the “occupation” of the territories Israel captured in 1967. If that is true, then why isn’t their Nakba Day celebrated each June on the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War?

The reason is that the Palestinians consider the creation of Israel the original sin, and their focus on that event is indicative of a refusal, even today, to reconcile themselves with the Jewish State. Abbas’s comments on the occasion of Israel’s 57th birthday, along with those by then PA Prime Minister Ahmed Korei, who said “our wound is still bleeding 57 years later,” hardly inspires confidence in their willingness to end the conflict with Israel (Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2005).

And Hamas, which now controls the Palestinian legislature, has never left any doubt about its refusal to accept Israel’s existence. Since winning the election, officials and spokesmen have repeatedly expressed their unwavering commitment to the Hamas Covenant’s call for the destruction of Israel.

Another disturbing aspect of Nakba Day was that traffic stopped and people stood straight and silent as sirens of mourning sounded, intentionally mimicking the Israeli practice on Holocaust Remembrance Day. This was an insidious way to make the odious comparison between the Holocaust and the creation of Israel .

It may be that the current leadership does not truly represent the feelings of the Palestinian people. A February 2006 poll, for example, found that 58 percent of Palestinians are prepared to accept a two-state solution (Jerusalem Media & Communications Center, February 2006). This is a hopeful sign, however, as long as the Palestinian Authority treats Israel ’s creation as a catastrophe on a par with the Holocaust, the prospects for coexistence will remain bleak.

This article can be found at

Source: REVISED Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard.







KOACH College Outreach
is a project of
The United Synagogue
of Conservative Judaism







Iyar 5766  4/28-29/06


Recipe: Blintz Cheesecake for Shavuot

Planning your menu for Shavuot? Though we won’t celebrate receiving the Torah until Sivan, we can already be thinking about the sweetness which lies ahead. Dairy foods are customary on Shavuot, since they are traditionally considered to be sweet and thus reflect the sweetness of God’s words…

"Cultural vs. Religious Judaism"

In case you missed these articles from our most recent e-zine...

Religion vs. Culture: Is One More Jewish?
By Andrew SheplerUniversity of Missouri-Columbia

From Farm to Food: A Breakdown of Jewish Animal Slaughter
By Avi EisenMonmouth State University

What Are We?
By Rich Moline, KOACH DIrector

What if We Were All Cultural Jews?
By Maya BerezovskyUniversity of Minnesota
KOC Editor

Article Index

Joke Index


What is Judaism All About?
Half of the respondents so far say it's about "community." Fewer than one in ten say it's about "spirituality."

Give us your thoughts on this month's poll...

From Man or God
Who wrote the Torah? Many of you say it was dictated by God and written by a human. (Find out what the rest of you think...)


KOACH Campus Representative

KOACH introduces its Campus Representative positions, beginning Fall 2006, as a new way campuses can enhance their Conservative community on campus.

The KOACH Campus Representative will be supported by KOACH staff in building the Conservative community on campus. The KOACH Campus Representative will have access to program and staff support and will be the link between the campus and the Conservative Movement.

Hillel Professionals are asked to designate a student to fill this role. For more information, or to sign up your campus, email:



Omer Counter (PDF)

Prepare yourself for receiving the Torah with the Omer Counter prepared by Rabbi Paul Drazen, Director of the USCJ Department of Services to Affiliated Congregations and of the USCJ Mid-Continent Region. The Counting of the Omer began at the second seder.


Project Reconnect

Mazal Tov to on the completion of another academic year – and special congratulations to those who are graduating this semester. Consider registering with Project Reconnect ( where you’ll be able to keep in touch with others and learn about opportunities to continue developing your communal involvement.


Sign Up for KOACH Shabbat 2006!

 "Who Wrote the Torah?" Join students throughout North America to share a Shabbat experience on your own campus and discuss the origins of Jewish life. This year's KOACH Shabbat will take place November 3-4, 2006. Study materials and KOACH Faculty are available to enhance and enrich your Shabbat. Click here for details!


In a month filled with celebration and commemoration of Israel, no one could blame you if you were dreaming of Jerusalem. Consider how others have struggled with their hearts in the East, even as they themselves were in the West. Download "Holy City, Holy Story.









Hudson Valley Branch

Women's League for Conservative Judaism Honors

Outstanding Sisterhood Members of 2006 and

Installation Ceremony of Ilene Kirschner Madwed

as Branch President



On Sunday, May 21st, Temple Beth El will host this year’s Hudson Valley Branch Women’s League Annual Conference.  Please join us for a thoughtful and educational program, moderated by Roni Lang, entitled, “Dutiful Daughters/Maxed Out Moms.”  The afternoon program begins at 2:00 p.m. with a $5 suggested donation, open to the entire community.  Study sessions and minha services to follow.

    At 6:00 p.m. please join us for a very special Awards Ceremony and Banquet when Ilene Kirschner Madwed will follow in Norma Mann’s footsteps to become the President of the Branch.  Ilene is a Sisterhood Past President and has been active on the Branch Board for several years.  Sisterhood members only will be receiving an invitation to this special evening, watch your mail for more details. The dinner is $36.  RSVP by May 8th.  Call Ellen Gordon at 968-8029 for more information.


Ilene Kirschner Madwed is a certified Business and Math teacher and is interested in numbers-so let’s go over some of HER numbers. . .


26: # of Sisterhood “affiliates” in the Hudson Valley Branch of Women’s League of which our Temple is a part.


15: # of years Ilene has been a Sisterhood member.


1996: Year in which Ilene served as President of our Sisterhood.


1: As in #1 position she will assume as President of the Hudson Valley Branch.


        Ilene first became involved in the Regional Branch when she attended events as Beth El’s representative in 1996.  She was intensely affected by the energy and excitement of the workshops and activities and found a strong mentor in the Branch president.  Now 10+ years later, she wants to share her experience and expertise.  As President, she hopes to visit all 26 affiliates and act as a catalyst for strengthening programs and nourishing Jewish women’s identity.


        The whole Madwed family is busy with Temple and community life.  Ilene has an M.S. in Business Education and now works at the JCC as the Membership and Special Projects Associate (eg. Zahal Shalom).  Many of our kids know Bert, her husband, who is in his 13th year as Jr. Congregation Leader.  They have three children: Dana, a Sophomore at Syracuse University; Daniel, a Junior at Westhill High School and a championship butterfly swimmer; and Andrew, a 7th grader at Scofield Magnet Middle School.


        We congratulate Ilene and wish her much success as President!  Please join Sisterhood  for a stimulating and exciting day on May 21st as people gather once again, to continue our roles as “Keepers of the Flames.”


First Ever! Sisterhood Cookbook

Available in September 2006

Delicious Recipes! Kosher! Family Favorites!

Please help to defray the costs

\be a sponsor, place an ad, order your copies now ($18 each).

**Proceeds to fund kitchen renovation and other TBE capital improvements**

**Call Beth Silver 967-8852 for information**







    How many of us find ourselves today caring for an aging parent, juggling our children’s and family’s schedules and running the house, while desperately trying to find time for ourselves?

    A unique program is being offered in our community, dedicated to women of the “Sandwich Generation.”

    Facilitated by professionals:  Roni Lang, Betsy Stone, Isrella Knopf, Netta Stern, Susan R. Greenwald, Susan Sirlin and Rabbi Selilah Kalev, in the field of elder care and family issues, topics will include how to best take care of an elderly or infirm parent and what can be done at the same time to nurture one’s self.

    The program is being co-sponsored by Jewish Family Service and the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El.  It will take place, here, at Temple Beth El on Sunday, May 21st from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Doors open at 1:45 p.m.

    Join us when we discuss the various aspects of the relationship between adult daughters and their elderly parents with the goal of becoming more knowledgeable, self-confident, and directed so that you may plan a more certain future with your parents.





Save the date – June 1 at 8:00 PM


Our Annual Tikkun Leyl Shavuot 


Shavuot service, dessert and study session

Joined by Temple Shalom of Greenwich

and the Fellowship for Jewish Learning


“Spirituality, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity:

Does one have to be “religious” to be Jewish?”


TIKKUN LEYL SHAVUOT—This ceremony, of Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) derivation, involves an evening of study prior to the first day of Shavuot.  Because study in Jewish tradition is regarded as sacred, an evening of concentrated study was meant to prepare the soul spiritually for what would be a reenactment of God's giving ASERET HADIBROT (The Ten Commandments) to the Jewish people the following morning.  Our  Tikkun Leyl Shavuot will not last all night (which is the tradition), just a few hours and it will include not only great study, but great noshing, as well, plus a real chance to come together with our sister congregations.


Registration materials are now available for the 2006-2007 TBE Religious School

If you are interested in registering your child (children), please respond to Caroline at and include your address so she can mail you the forms!




UJF and JCC Continues the Exciting New Initiative in

Adult Jewish Education:

The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School


The United Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center are starting a list for new classes in the fall of 2006. 

The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School


  • is an internationally recognized program of adult Jewish study developed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • is designed for adults interested in serious study without enrolling in an academy of higher learning
  • engages students in two years of study;  30 two-hour weekly sessions per year (knowledge of Hebrew is not required)
  • topics include key ideas in Jewish theology, ethics and the history of Jewish life


For more information about class registration, please contact Ilana De Laney at (203) 321-1373, ext. 114 or email her at or Jonathan Fass at (203) 487-0958 or email him at




Thanks to Mindy Rogoff for this one


In the Potatohead family, the first daughter told her father that she was engaged to be married. 

"I'm engaged to a Russett," she told him.

"A Russett!  That's one great 'tater!" said the father.

A month later, the second daughter announced her engagement. 

"I'm engaged to an Idaho," she said.

"An Idaho!" said the father.  "That's one great 'tater!"

A couple of months later, the third daughter announced her engagement. 

"I'm engaged to Rashi," she said.

"Rashi?" said the father.  "But he's only a commentator!"


Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (

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